Chelsea sported the logo of their shirts sponsors Three in their victory at Norwich on Thursday evening, despite the mobile phone firm suspending their deal with the club earlier in the day.
Trevoh Chalobah, Mason Mount and Kai Havertz were all on target as Thomas Tuchel’s men recorded a 3-1 win at Carrow Road to put them eight points clear of Arsenal in fourth, albeit having played two games more.
But the victory came after a day of turmoil at Stamford Bridge which saw the club’s owner Roman Abramovich sanctioned by the UK over his links to Vladimir Putin, plunging the club’s future into doubt.
One of the many repercussions of Abramovich’s assets being frozen saw shirt sponsors Three suspend their £40million deal.
However, the front of the Blues players’ shirts still had the logo of the mobile phone company on it as they defeated Dean Smith’s men comfortably for a fourth straight top-flight win.
Sportsmail understands that Three is still in discussions about the removal of the logo from shirts long-term.
Social media was also left perplexed by the logo appearing on their shirts, with one Arsenal fan asking: ‘Looking at photo’s from Carrow Road, Chelsea still have their sponsors logo on their shirts…how is this possible?’
However, one Chelsea supporter tweeted: ‘With or without shirt sponsors, Chelsea will be alright.’
Shirts sponsors Three suspended their £40million deal with Chelsea on Thursday after Roman Abramovich was sanctioned
However, Chelsea players still sported the logo of the mobile phone firm in their victory at Norwich
The victory came after a day of turmoil at Stamford Bridge which saw the club’s owner Roman Abramovich sanctioned by the UK
A West Ham fan meanwhile made reference to when the Hammers’ sponsors XL went bust in 2008, just a month into the season, forcing them to remove their logo at short notice.
‘I hope Chelsea do what West Ham did in 2007 when our sponsor went bust and just cover the logo horrendously with the squad number,’ the user posted.
A Three statement earlier on Thursday read: ‘In light of the Government’s recently-announced sanctions, we have requested Chelsea Football Club temporarily suspend our sponsorship of the club including the removal our brand from the and around the stadium until further notice.
‘We recognise that this decision will impact the many fans who follow the their team passionately.
‘However, we feel that given the circumstance, and the Government sanction that is in place, it is the right thing to do.
‘As a mobile network, the best way we can support the people of Ukraine is to ensure refugees arriving in the UK from the conflict and customers currently in Ukraine can stay connected to the people who matter to them.
‘Therefore, we are offering connectivity packages to all Ukrainians arriving in the UK, and those in the Ukraine.’
The Blues could lose millions in sponsorship revenue following Thursday’s developments.
Kit suppliers Nike, who agreed a 15-year, £900m deal with Chelsea in 2016, are considering walking away. That would see the club miss out on £540m.
West Ham were forced to remove the logo of their sponsors XL in 2008 after they went bust
Chelsea were also holding talks on Thursday night with the Government amid concerns they will struggle to complete the campaign.
Blues officials proposed amendments to the licence issued to allow them to operate.
Under a wide-ranging raft of restrictions, Chelsea were left unable to sell match tickets, forced to close the club shop and blocked from taking bookings for the Stamford Bridge hotel.
They were told they can no longer buy or sell players, or offer new contracts, and were restricted to a maximum spend of £20,000 on travel to away matches.
They were informed that they can only pay ‘reasonable costs’ towards hosting home fixtures, ‘not exceeding £500,000 per fixture, per team’.
Abramovich (above) saw his assets frozen, throwing the pending sale of the west London club into disarray
Chelsea were left unable to sell match tickets and were also forced to close the club shop, but existing staff and players will continue to be paid
As it stands, the club cannot renew existing contracts – which effectively means Antonio Rudiger (right) and Cesar Azpilicueta (left) will leave the club in the summer
But there is a view the limits on transport and hosting matches will need to be raised to stop the club losing money.
Chelsea will continue to receive TV broadcast payments and prize money, but this will be frozen. Existing staff and players will continue to be paid.
The club will also ask for clarity over contracts, with a number of star players’ deals due to expire at the end of the season.
As it stands, Chelsea cannot renew any contracts – meaning defenders Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta will leave in the summer.
To top it all, Chelsea’s rivals are lining up to take advantage of their plight, with two players who were due to sign for the Blues’ academy already approached by other high-ranking Premier League clubs, given the ban on the Blues bringing in fresh talent.
But boss Thomas Tuchel said ‘as long as Chelsea have enough shirts and a bus’ they will keep on fighting as the German coach showed the first public signs of solidarity since the UK government sanctioned their owner.
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel insists he is ‘still happy’ to be Chelsea manager despite Abramovich being sanctioned
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Tuchel said: ‘Let’s see if it stays like this. If it does, I don’t know.
‘We take it day by day. I didn’t see that coming yesterday and I don’t know what is coming tomorrow.
‘Everybody can be very sure that we focus on us, to keep the attitude and the mentality right on the training ground and within the team.
‘So far we can trust each other and this will not change. As long as we have enough shirts and a bus to drive to the games we will be there and will compete hard.’
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